Book Review - The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean by Susan Casey
From the Amazon Vine program, I received a copy of Susan Casey's The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks and Giants of the Ocean. She mixes two different types of types of stories here. First, there's the surfer culture that goes after The Big One, waves that could easily kill them. That story revolves mainly around Laird Hamilton, well-known for his ability to not only find but ride waves that run 60, 70, even 80 feet in size. The Holy Grail in surfing is to find and ride a 100 foot wave, and the narrative works up to the point where Hamilton and his crew find themselves in the position of having to decide whether to go for it when the moment finally arrives.
The other story centers more around the science of giant and rogue waves. They don't follow a set pattern, so they're very difficult to forecast using current techniques and theories. To make the study even more challenging, very few structures and devices can withstand the energy released by waves of that magnitude, so gathering information borders on the impossible. As such, reports abound of ships lost at sea without a single distress call from the crew, and there's little anyone can do to nail down the exact cause and improve the survivability of these oceanographic freaks of nature.
Overall, The Wave was a good read. It's slanted more heavily towards the story of the surfers than the science behind the waves, and I wish the balance between the two angles had been a bit more even. Not being a surfer myself, there's only so far I can go in fully appreciating the risks that these individuals take every time they go out on the water. I would have preferred to go more deeply into some of the mysteries surrounding the sunken ships and what's being done to try and predict the formation of rogue waves. Even so, Casey is an accomplished writer, and I was drawn into the book in ways I didn't expect. I know that when I'm on my next cruise, I'll spend an extra few moments looking at the waves and wondering "what if..."
Obtained From: Amazon Vine Review Program